The American-Canadian border has been closed for more than a year during the coronavirus pandemic. Geese, however, travel freely and have made the sporting grounds at Kennebunk High School a favored rest stop.

Kennebunk High School is using decoys in an attempt to drive out Canada geese that are leaving the fields a mess. Dan King photo

Hundreds of Canada geese descended on the athletic fields during late winter and spring – and are leaving a mess.

Last Tuesday, on March 30, Kennebunk High School went on the offensive in an attempt to keep the geese from congregating. Canine decoys were scattered throughout the complex.

“We have a major geese problem and with kids on the fields, we had to find a way to get rid of the geese,” said Joseph Schwartzman, Kennebunk High School athletic administrator, in an email. “If you walk on the fields, they are really gross.”

Dan King photo

It was not an issue in February and early-March without high school athletes practicing their games. But as restrictions on high school athletics were eased and students returned to the fields, the mess left behind by the geese was problematic.

Enter the dog decoys.

“We have a total of nine (decoys),” said Schwartzman. “They went up on Tuesday and we also have someone who brings his dogs to chase them.”

When there’s a breeze, the canine decoys move just enough to appear real and frighten the geese. The geese see the decoys as a threat and move on.

According to a Humane Society of the United States statement on the use of decoys, “… Where geese have learned to fear real coyotes or where trained goose-herding dogs are regularly working, fake canines may keep geese on their toes a little longer. These work best when they are moved frequently and are on swivels so that they appear more real when moved by the wind.”